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Beginners private instruction - half or full day?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We are heading out to Beaver Creek in March - two families of 4.  We were thinking about putting the 4 adults in a private half day class and the 4 kids in a private half day class.  My question, specially towards my family of 2 kids that have never skied (6 and 9) and my wife and I that haven't ski'd in 20+ years.  Will a half day lesson be enough to get us to get down the green's ok for the rest of the trip?

 

We're only going for 5 days.  First day is shot, of course, so that really leaves just 4 days which isn't much time.  We plan on being on the slopes for 2 of those days and maybe a 3rd day at the end if we feel up to it.

 

So is a half day of private lessons sufficient for beginners?

 

We also have the option (at least the adults - the kids aren't heavy enough) to get a lesson before we go on a machine such as this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOVP8ogcCjM

 

thanks in advance!

post #2 of 19
Are the kids all beginners?

Are the other adults beginners?

You and your wife are not beginners. Unless you only skied once 20 years ago, you will not want to be in a beginner lesson.

You probably would do better separating the kids and adults.

I wouldn't bother with the carpet.
post #3 of 19

Getting down the greens ok is kind of a personal opinion! If money is not your concern, go to a lesson each day. Groups are probably fine unless you have specific fear, attention or learning concerns among your crew. All attendees will perform relative to their natural athletic tendencies. That said, likely outcomes in 3 hr groups:

6yo - likely to glide, wedge, maybe wedge to stop, & wedge turn. Less likely to actually control speed by turning on all greens.

9yo - likely to glide, wedge, wedge turn, wedge christie or basic parallel turn, somewhat likely to control speed by turning on green terrain.

Adults - likely to wedge or parallel turn and control speed by turning, may use too much effort for desired results.

Overall, I suspect best results may be achieved by private lessons, one adult with each youth, best matched for likely outcomes based on aggressive approach to the sport. This will allow both parents to learn from the coach how to keep their youths safe and desirable concepts for efficient movements to control the skis. Additionally it will reacquaint the adults with the sport, changes in the sport since their last endeavor and general good movement patterns which may or may not be ingrained in the skiers.

post #4 of 19

Like Kneale said split the parents from the kids and let the instructors do their job then in the end of the lesson get some homework for you to help them get good mileage and stay on the path they are leading them to.

 

Group lessons are more  diluted in a never -ever scenario than a lesson for  one who needs updating in their skiing but your plan of half day lessons in a private setting should serve you well. After this kind of session your kids should be very functional on green runs and some explorations on the lessor blue runs. It's best to spend more time on green runs anyway to strengthen their skills  and make small forays into more challenging terrain represented by blue runs ending back a step into their comfort range on green runs.  Don't move them too fast just so you can adventure more. They can be taught to stay together and cycle a familiar lift while the parents go off for a more challenging run if need be. I used to ski all day with my brother growing up and never had any troubles because we stayed together as a team .

post #5 of 19
Put your children in an all day group lesson. It will be fun for them and if they have never skied, all day with an instructor will be great for them.

A half day for you and your wife will get you on your way.

Have a good time.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

 

Yeah, we had planned on splitting up kids and adults for sure.  At first I thought a family lesson would be neat, but I think separating out makes sense.

 

None of the kids have skied, or really even seen snow (like this).  Me - I've skied probably 5 times and again, might be upwards of 30 years ago.  My wife probably has a bit more experience, but its been a long while for her too.

 

I guess all we can do it try and see how it goes.   My fear is that I want them to learn and enjoy, yet I don't want them to spend all of the time in the lessons and not be able to get out on the real slopes.  I'm kind of hoping, checking in on Sunday and departing on Friday that we can ski 3 of those days, but again, I'm curious to see if that ends up being too much.

post #7 of 19

if i was you i would go for half day lessons as the kids have never skied before. They will be experiencing a totally new environment while learning to ski which could be very overwhelming for them, added to that the first phew hours for a first time are really intense, it is a lot of learning and leaves most people totally exhausted. 

 

full day lesson are a great way of improving quickly once they have got the basics; can stop, turn ect.

post #8 of 19

Most ski schools end with plenty of time for a few runs with friends and family in the afternoon.  They break up the ski day in such a way that most kids have plenty of energy for more skiing.  If you put the kids in full-day ski school the first day, I'm sure it will be more obvious how to handle the rest of the week.  The instructor can also get to know the kids enough to provide useful advice.

 

For the kids, little reason to do anything in advanced.  For the adults, some ski conditioning and balance exercises couldn't hurt.  Have you seen the tips in Family Skiing and Beginner Zone?

post #9 of 19
Lessons will get your children to the real slopes as quickly as possible. I teach lots of never ever skiers and it is amazing what people can do in a full day lesson.

I think it is critical for new skiers to do lessons and not flounder around on their own. A good lesson at the beginning sets the foundation for progression and can build confidence quickly.
post #10 of 19
Also, ask for a Level 3 certified instructor.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

Also, ask for a Level 3 certified instructor.

 

Just curious why you think this is necessary?

post #12 of 19

Level 3 instructors have met specific criteria for skiing, teaching and movement analysis.  It is your best bet for getting a instructor who know what he or she is doing and can get you moving in the right direction from the beginning. 
 

post #13 of 19

Level 3 doesn't insure the student learns better, or worse than they would with a less qualified coach. To be frank, it's up to the student how fast and how much they learn. Certainly a full cert coach has invested more in their education and that generally means from that end of the equation they are more capable teachers but on the other side of the equation is the student and their willingness to invest in their education. The industry has known this for quite some time and it is why full cert isn't always seen as mandatory. Especially by the SAM and SSD. The thinking is good coaches exist at all levels of certification. That being said, apprentice coaches are that for a reason. Does it matter in the beginner corral? I think so since the first timer lesson is where the future of the sport is born.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Level 3 doesn't insure the student learns better, or worse than they would with a less qualified coach. To be frank, it's up to the student how fast and how much they learn. Certainly a full cert coach has invested more in their education and that generally means from that end of the equation they are more capable teachers but on the other side of the equation is the student and their willingness to invest in their education. The industry has known this for quite some time and it is why full cert isn't always seen as mandatory. Especially by the SAM and SSD. The thinking is good coaches exist at all levels of certification. That being said, apprentice coaches are that for a reason. Does it matter in the beginner corral? I think so since the first timer lesson is where the future of the sport is born.

 

I agree with everything you said. There are no guarantees. However, the quality of instructors varies tremendously and asking for a Level 3 increases a student's chance of getting a well qualified instructor.   Private lessons are extremely expensive and students should get what they pay for.

post #15 of 19

Private half day products are typically geared towards skier improvement not introducing never evers to the sport. It's a lot to absorb in a two hour format. Typical results for a never ever after two hours is linked turns in the beginner corral. Which is hardly congruent with the stated goal of skiing summit to base on green runs. That doesn't mean it's impossible, just that it is an ambitious goal. Perhaps a full day format would make that goal more attainable. Private or group for never evers might be worth mentioning since the lesson content would be very similar. Especially for the kids who might enjoy playing with other kids more than just an adult who they just met.

post #16 of 19

Never-ever adults learn two different ways, and both are essential for a beginner to advance.  First, they get instructions on how to move and what to expect from those movements.  This happens during the lesson.  There's a professional watching them, giving them instructions and feedback, and if they are in a group lesson there are other beginners that they can watch progress (or not).  This part is essential - getting the information of what to do and what to feel and experience as a result. The instructor will give the student a way to self-check whether they are doing something successfully or not, so that when they practice it off on their own they can tell when they are doing well.

 

Second, beginner adults need to practice what they learned to do in the lesson in a self-reflective way, without an instructor interrupting their concentration. They need to focus on what their feet and legs are doing, and feel and analyze what is resulting as they head down the hill.  This reflective practice part of learning is essential.  Embedding new movement patterns into one's muscle memory takes time and repetition in the absence of new information. My point is that it might be just as good to take a half day lesson so you can practice in the afternoon before getting more info from an instructor the next morning.

 

If you take lessons with practice time in between, do try to get the same instructor for each successive lesson.  Consistency matters.

 

I suspect at a big mountain resort, in an all-day lesson, there's plenty of time for quiet reflective practice embedded in the day-long lesson.  The good thing about this set-up will be if you are doing something that you think you are doing correctly but aren't, the instructor is watching and can figure it out and let you know right away.  

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Never-ever adults learn two different ways, and both are essential for a beginner to advance.  First, they get instructions on how to move and what to expect from those movements.  This happens during the lesson.  There's a professional watching them, giving them instructions and feedback, and if they are in a group lesson there are other beginners that they can watch progress (or not).  This part is essential - getting the information of what to do and what to feel and experience as a result. The instructor will give the student a way to self-check whether they are doing something successfully or not, so that when they practice it off on their own they can tell when they are doing well.

 

Second, beginner adults need to practice what they learned to do in the lesson in a self-reflective way, without an instructor interrupting their concentration. They need to focus on what their feet and legs are doing, and feel and analyze what is resulting as they head down the hill.  This reflective practice part of learning is essential.  Embedding new movement patterns into one's muscle memory takes time and repetition in the absence of new information. My point is that it might be just as good to take a half day lesson so you can practice in the afternoon before getting more info from an instructor the next morning.

 

If you take lessons with practice time in between, do try to get the same instructor for each successive lesson.  Consistency matters.

 

I suspect at a big mountain resort, in an all-day lesson, there's plenty of time for quiet reflective practice embedded in the day-long lesson.  The good thing about this set-up will be if you are doing something that you think you are doing correctly but aren't, the instructor is watching and can figure it out and let you know right away.  

Never evers learn like the rest of us, LQ. Introducing a concept is certainly part of that but in all cases how a student perceives what is being presented is even more important. More often than not this means the instructor must repackage the presentation using different words and activities. As the students participate in these activites the instructor's role shifts away from command style teaching and more to a guided discovery role. Although that change does not occur all at once. Error correction feedback is a mix of these teaching styles and it is especially important during this part of a lesson. Eventually independent study makes sense but mileage and guided practice expedites the shift to independent study. Exactly how long that takes is hard to say but after many years of teaching I can say two, or three hours into a never ever lesson it is rare for a student to develop the skill level to safely ski our green runs top to bottom. It is far more common for them to be linking turns in our mid mountain beginner corral (cadillac flats). Some may progress faster and be working in our second beginner corral (kokomo carpet). Every so often a hockey player shows up and might progress faster but even they usually need a coach to help them negotiate our third beginner slope (Scout). All long before setting out on our first top to bottom green runs (Schoolmarm / Schoolmaster). A study done a while back tracked student progress and it suggested a connection between performance and the length of time spent doing flatwork. Those students who progressed most were also the students who spent the most time doing flatwork. Those first few hours are exactly when all this flatwork happens.

That is why I mentioned top to bottom skiing at Beaver Creek might be an ambitious (maybe too ambitious) goal. It is not impossible but it is not common either. If anything I would hate to see the students and the coaches set up to meet that lofty goal and fail to perform at that level. Said another way, I am trying to help the OP realize three hour private never ever lessons might not be the best choice. Give everyone a greater chance to succeed by giving them more time to reach those goals.

post #18 of 19

I think you are receiving a lot of good advice here.  I have slightly different recommendations from many of the other posters.

 

For the adults:  

 

If money is no object, I would recommend taking half day morning private lessons each day.  In the afternoon, you can work on what you         have been taught in the morning.  A private class can really zero on each of your individual abilities and provide appropriate drills and instruction.

 

If money is an issue, I would still take a half-day private morning lesson the first day, then morning group lessons on each of the other days.

 

For the kids:

 

I would put them in a private lesson for a half day in the morning or perhaps a full day.  For the next day, however, I suggest putting them in ski school for at least a half day or possibly a whole day.  Kids learn not only from the instructor, but from each other.  If they are with other children, they will probably have much more fun than being only with an adult instructor, however skilled. (Children usually do not like to ski exclusively with their parents either.  I insist that my daughter take one run with me each ski day, but that is the most I can ever expect, though she is bit older than your children.) The instructor on the first day could help place the children in an appropriate ski school group the second day.  It's quite possible that your nine year old will be at a different level than your six year old.  If so, it would be better for both children to be in separate ski school classes.  It's sometimes tough for the kid who is not picking it up quickly to be with his brother or sister who is picking skiing up like lightening. In separate classes, they can learn at their own level and they each can come to enjoy the sport.  lf the first day of ski school works out, put them there for the additional days, either for half a day or a full day.  (If you and your children like the group lesson instructor (or instructors), you can request that instructor and possibly that group for each of the remaining days.)

 

Good luck. Skiing is a great family sport.

 

Tom

post #19 of 19

Bump for families who include beginners planning ski trips to big mountains for spring break.

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